Apr 27, 2005

disingenuity by design

Yet Another Update: Welcome, readers of Thoughts from Kansas. Check out my other ID-related posts: a moment of truth, information please, and pro-neo-darwinism.

Another Update: the discussion has carried over to Panda's Thumb, including this interesting comment by Mr. Mullenix.

I was intrigued by a recent Dembski column linked to idthefuture, so I read it. It concerns "quote-mining," and is a defense against the charge that Dembski engages in it. I decided I'd throw in my two farthings, registered properly, and commented. I said this:
“Pretty convincing indicator that the Cambrian explosion poses a challenge to conventional evolutionary theory, wouldn’t you say?”

The answer is clearly “no,” as Josh Rosenau has demonstrated elsewhere.

If I were to say, “Bill Dembski appears to be a man of principle. He treats his readers and critics fairly, even charitably–until you dig deeper and read what they’re actually saying. Then the facade crumbles.”

And you were to quote me as saying, “Bill Dembski appears to be a man of principle. He treats his readers and critics fairly, even charitably….” That would be context-ripping.

Explain how this is any different from what you have done.*


My comment was deleted, and my login erased.

Deleting comments without good reason (and without explanation) is pernicious, and is exactly why I will now refer to Mr. Dembski as "intellectually dishonest." He cannot waffle or weave, so he gags his opponents. (He apparently has done the exact same thing to Mr. Rosenau.)


If you stifle fair debate, Mr. Dembski, how dare you complain about censorship?






*There is no defense for this. Even if Ward is wrong (as another commenter seems to believe), there is no excuse for unfairly ripping Ward's quote from its context. Show where Ward is wrong, but do not mischaracterize Ward's own words.

Update: Another commenter writes, "My comments and IP address were censored at Panda’s Thumb without good reason (and without explanation). If the “premier” pro-neo-Darwinism site is unwilling to allow dissenting viewpoints, why should this site either?" A red herring served up tu quoque with a dash of zesty quote marks. Zing!

15 comments:

Matthew D Dunn said...

He did the same thing to me.

see here:

http://singthebodyelectric.blogspot.com/2005/04/damn-you-dembski.html

and here:

http://singthebodyelectric.blogspot.com/2005/04/going-out-with-bang.html

jpe said...

Few things irk me more than comment deletion. Of course, my drunken and disrespectful comments are another thing altogether, but critical & smart comments should certainly be left up.

theomorph said...

I'm not too impressed with the way Dembski added his own bracketed comment to Rosenau's trackback summary on Dembski's latest post, either. First he delete's Rosenau's comment, then he edits Rosenau's trackback summary, all without addressing the issue of his censorship or explaining himself in any way.

Zoon Liar said...

It's his blog. He can do with it as he pleases, as you can with yours, and I with mine. Go ahead and delete this post, it's your choice.

You got your say, and a link back from his site to here, that's more than you actually have a right to. Enjoy it.

If he was running a news service or some other public forum that had some implied impartiality, you might have some grounds for complaint.

Personally, I do wish he'd leave the comments alone, but I have no right to demand that of him.

Meanwhile, I reckon he's right about the context, and you're not. (-:

Jim said...

It's his blog. He can do with it as he pleases, as you can with yours, and I with mine. Go ahead and delete this post, it's your choice.

I wouldn't care if Dembski deleted my comment if he weren't a hypocrite. I realize it's his blog, but when you whine about censorship (as he has done, as I linked to) you have zero grounds to censor others in a very Orwellian erase-the-past manner. (He deleted my username, too, not just my comment.)





You got your say, and a link back from his site to here, that's more than you actually have a right to. Enjoy it.

I'm not sure why he'd delete my comment, but then keep my link up, where--surprise!--I say the exact same thing. Perhaps he hasn't clicked through.




Meanwhile, I reckon he's right about the context, and you're not. (-:

He's wrong about the context, and so clearly wrong that it's almost embarrassing. Even if Ward is wrong, Ward clearly does not believe that the Cambrian "explosion" is evolutionary theory's petard. Read the whole thing. Dembski is grossly wrong, obviously wrong, and intellectually dishonest for continuing to trumpet his wrongness.

theomorph said...

"If he was running a news service or some other public forum that had some implied impartiality, you might have some grounds for complaint."

Huh? So individuals are not subject to accountability? Only organizations?

Or is this just more of the same from the ID movement that tries to "wedge" its way into science by publishing popular books, changing public school science instruction, and doing anything else that doesn't involve scrutiny or accountability for their content (only for their method)? Is this from the same ID movement that produced the person who came to my blog a while back and told me I had no right to criticize Dembski's blog posts because they're not dissertations? (Presumably, if you just toss off your remarks in a casual manner on a mere blog, you're free to throw caution, reason, and scruples to the wind, and no one has any right to criticize you. Ha!)

Welcome to the blogosphere, "intelligent design" proponents. This is not a place where people refrain from holding others accountable. Quite the opposite, actually. Remember how bloggers affected the last presidential election? Or Dan Rather's career?

Also, anybody who allows comments on their public blog has opened a public forum.

theomorph said...

Oh yeah, one more thing. A quote from Walter Kaufmann:

"Let one man champion one alternative, and his fellow another: fear of disagreement is for a philosopher what fear of getting hurt is for a soldier--cowardice."

Zoon Liar said...

Hello, Jim! Glad you decided to comment after all!

Ward is one of several (but sadly a very small proportion of people will do this, Flew is another) scientists who are candid enough to call a spade a spade and let the chips fall where they may. I applaud him for it.

Dembski is not claiming that Ward believes materialism to be dead, or that Ward is an heretic loose in the Church of Gradualism. Dembski is taking Ward at his word, no more, no less.

As I said, I wish he’d leave the comments on his blog alone, but he hasn’t done that, and we don’t have any real grounds for complaint about that.

Zoon Liar said...

Yo, TheoMorph

Wishful thinking. There is a difference between the world as you’d like it to be and as it is.

Yes, I too would like to hear from Dembski on his reasons for deleting. He is under no obligation to do so, but it would be nice.

Zoon Liar said...

All: you’ll notice that Dembski deleted two comments from me as well, without explanation. Neither comment was hostile to his thesis (as might be expected, coming from me; I don’t agree 100% with his position but I’m closer to that than to Orthodox Naturalism). He might simply have what we view as a very stringent criterion for what’s “on topic” and what’s “noise”.

theomorph said...

ZL, it's not wistful thinking. Dembski is under no obligation to disclose reasoning for his hypocrisy, but that does not mean the rest of us are disallowed from hammering on him all we want for refusing to do so. So long as Dembski refuses to play fair, the rest of us have every right to condemn him for doing so.

Jim said...

ZL, I appreciate your comments, but I still don't get why you think Dembski has accurately quoted Ward. As my analogy shows, it's quite easy to rip a quote out of context. It's how movie advertisements get "a thrilling action movie!" out of "a thrilling action movie for the first five minutes, but a dull, plodding soap opera for the last eighty-five."

I follow Hurd and Mullenix here: "So, a paleontologist that Dembski accepts as authoritative (else why quote him?) stated plainly that Darwin’s concern about the fossil record has been satisfied in the same section of the same chapter that Dembski earlier quoted. Recall that it was this concern that Dembski claims “Darwinists” dodge. There is no acceptable excuse for Dembski not to have read and understood Ward’s clear meaning. And, for Dembski to have used Ward’s opening rhetorical flourish as authoritative while denying his obvious meaning expanded throughout the chapter is at best hypocritical." [emphasis added]

Dembski's been called on it before, and knows he's been called on it, but continues harping on that same quote.

Oh, and for the record, since I have no official comment policy: if anyone takes the trouble to login and comment, I will never delete a comment without immediately explaining 1. that I have deleted it and 2. why.

Ed Darrell said...

So, to the dishonorable "Gish Gallop," we now need to add the "Dembski Dodge?" "Dembksi Dance?"

It's part of Dembski's jihad against science. He feels justified in covering up those pesky facts that contradict his peculiar "world view," and in a fight of "world views," why should he not be able to cover up those that displease him?

What would Jesus do, after all?

Steve said...

The Dembski Dissemble obviously.

Rib said...

Look, it's as plain as the nose on Dembski's face!

Dembski is a biblical literalist. He believes in 6-day creation and the flood and Noah.

Therefore, evolutionary theory is a threat, therefore he attacks evolution.

All the rest of his stuff is pseudo-science and dishonest waffle.

Period.